After several decades of faithful service to the community, the Bentley Blessing Pantry is still going strong.
“Greg Rathjen, who is the pastor of the Bentley Community Church, started it about 30 years ago,” said Pam Davey.
Initially, the Pantry was intended to help local residents around the Christmas season in particular. Food and gift certificates would be given out to help brighten the holidays for those who needed some assistance.
The practice of offering that support has continued ever since, but nowadays the assistance is available all year long.
“When this pandemic started, I felt in my heart that I wanted to do something more. The Pantry was already there, but I was feeling like there many of my own friends and family who were struggling to make ends meet. So in November, I started advertising for people to donate food or money,” explained Davey.
“Basically, it kind of took off from there. The response was overwhelming.
“People were just so generous - it was unreal,” she explained. “We got a phenomenal amount of donations, and because of that and because of the pandemic - I know there are a lot of people who were also laid off over this second shut down, so I decided to keep it open all year.
“I’m going to keep on with it and try to help people as much as I can,” she said, adding that folks can fill their pantries and they can also receive gift cards for local grocery stores to buy fresh milk, meat and vegetables for example.
There are also some gluten-free and organic options as well.
“If people would like to donate and want a receipt, it does have to go through the church because I’m not able to do that,” she said, adding that the Pantry is located in the basement of the church.
There are no set hours - if anyone would like assistance, they are invited to call 587-986-4580 to set up an appointment.
Recently, an update was posted on the Pantry’s Facebook page that served as a reminder to the community that the service would be available through the coming year.
“With many people being laid off or having their hours reduced at work, they are finding it hard to make ends meet. We wanted to do what we could to ease the stress of providing groceries for your family.
“Moving forward, we would like it if you could make an appointment to come to the pantry and take the food that you need that will best provide for your family. If you are not able to do so, we can deliver some food to you. Just get ahold of us and let us know what you need.”
For Davey, it’s a joy to see people helped out in such a practical way.
“I enjoy seeing people blessed. I don’t know really how to explain it, but when you bless others, you yourself are blessed, too. I know in the past that we have needed help, so I also just wanted to give something back.
“I also want to stress that in this time, when people are struggling, I find sometimes people don’t want to reach out for help,” she said. “But I just want to encourage people to not be afraid to reach out and ask for help. That’s what we are here for.”
For more about the Bentley Blessing Pantry, which is for Bentley residents only, call 587-986-4580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find them on Facebook at @bentleyblessingpantry.
Donations are always welcome as well.